I survived my first bikepacking trip…and I may even do another one!This past weekend I took on my first ever bikepacking trip. I had legitimately no idea what I was in for. It was a spur of the moment trip for me. My coworker and friend Lindsay invited me on a whim. I was hesitant at first because I have seen pictures from some of her past bikepacking adventures and felt ill prepared. I also have been off my bike for about a month due to a rib fracture from a bike crash so I didn’t feel like I was in very good shape. That being said, I committed without having too much time to overthink it. Prior to this trip I had never been on a bike for longer than 40 miles in my life. Actually, that’s a lie, last summer I rode approximately 125 miles over the course of 24 hours on a cruiser tandem with my friend Dan for a fundraiser. That was much more of a test of friendship and butt soreness than anything else. And actually, when I was 11 I rode 75 miles on a tandem with my Dad from Philadelphia to the Jersey Shore which I remember very little about other than we had a disc man strapped to the pack with speakers in the water bottle holders. After completion, I remember being completely dehydrated, eating a whole lot of pickles and pierogis, and passing out right away. So, maybe I have done a few long rides but nothing relative to 140 miles on my mountain bike loaded up with 15 additional pounds of survival gear. My point is, bikepacking isn’t just for freak-animal hardcore riders who train day in and day out for upcoming trips. To my great surprise, it can be for anyone. The endeavor we took on was Kokopelli’s Trail (west to east) from Moab, Utah to Loma, Colorado. We packed our bikes with the essential items, drove to Moab to camp the night before departure, had breakfast at The Wake and Bake and then it was all uphill from there. You know, from the second I began pedaling up Sandflats Road to the minute I put on my front break in the Rabbit Valley trailhead parking lot (because I totally burned through my rear break pads), I would say I was constantly thinking about how incredibly brutal the ride was. Yet, I was still able to maintain a fairly positive mindset at the same time. That may have been due to the clever complaining I was coming up with. In Colorado we commonly refer to these types of badass, painful and fairly inhuman experiences as type-2 fun, because while doing them you often question your sanity but afterwards, the feeling you get when you look back at what you just accomplished wipes your brain of all negative thoughts you had in the act and clears it to provide a positive perspective on an experience that -without a doubt- made you stronger, both mentally and physically. This trip showed me a new way to explore unseen land, made me a stronger rider and provided me with an escape from reality with enough time to collect my thoughts but not too much time to rework my entire future like I would have probably done on a less exciting (grueling) lengthy ride. That being said, there were some particularly brutal elements that I think are important to share. So, from first-time bikepacker to reader, here were the elements of horror… Climbing Miles It felt like we were constantly climbing. Mainly, because we were. I wish I would have kept track (not really), but I am willing to bet that 25 of the 30 miles on our first day were spent climbing. Maybe I just focused on the climbing, because it was so brutal. Overall we gained over 12,000 feet, though, so that confirms that we did indeed do a bit of climbing. The cool/awful thing about the climbing on this trip was that it varied in so many ways: paved climbs, dirt road climbs, techy climbs, steep climbs. You name it, we climbed it.